Soar Losers

It's air today, gone tomorrow for the frequent flyers at the Central YMCA.

The Y flyers, many of whom learned trapeze as children, and some of whose children were in the process of learning when the program was canceled, disagree emphatically with Nichols's assessment of the situation. During the gripe sessions that replaced their Friday night flying, they decided to send Lisa Hogan and Alton Barbour to a meeting with Nichols, in hopes that he would reconsider.

"But he seemed to have no interest in hearing anything more from us," sighs Hogan. "I showed him a sample liability release we could use, and he said, 'You know it's not worth the paper it's written on.' He said he wanted to eliminate all risk at the Y. And I'm thinking, you gotta run more of a risk with basketball. Any cardiovascular equipment has risk. If you really think about it, there's risk everywhere."

"He actually seemed angry at us," Barbour says. "We didn't get anywhere."
Barbour and Hogan went on to lobby members of the Y's board of directors, among them Denver attorney Brian Pendleton.

"I don't know if there was an insurance concern," Pendleton says carefully, "and I know the trapeze has been there a long time. I also know that we're dealing with risk containment at the Y organization."

At different times last week, Lisa Hogan and Jon Allen, her estranged husband and former catcher, visited the Central Y with a petition requesting reinstatement of the trapeze program. Hogan got 75 signatures from her post in the ladies' locker room; Allen was asked to leave the premises.

"I don't think their petitions will help, anyway," Nichols says. According to him, the decision to end the program rests firmly with his office, not the Y's board of directors.

"His attitude has been, 'No one can tell me what to do,'" says flyer Lynn Coleman, a member of the Denver school board. "It's odd. Usually, in a nonprofit organization, your board does tell you what to do. Being a boardmember myself, it's strange to me that we have had a heck of a time even finding out who the boardmembers are."

One, she discovered, is Colorado Ski Country's John Frew, whom Coleman asked to "convene a subcommittee to discuss the trapeze situation." Meanwhile, she mourns the part of her past that closed along with the program. "My father flies trapeze, he always did, and I went there as a baby in my playpen, which is what I did with my own kids when the time came," she remembers.

There are, of course, still the Friday night meetings at Charlie Brown's bar--but although the flyers get plenty worked up, those evenings are not much of a workout. Coleman has looked into the possibility of flying at the East High School gym, but DPS has bigger worries right now.

Denver's flyers do not have high hopes of saving their program. "I heard we might be designated as a historical activity," Hogan reports, "but I don't know what that gets us--a chance to fly at the Molly Brown House? What do I do now? I drink," she decides. "It's taken a lot of structure out of a lot of people's lives."

Barbour attends the sessions at Charlie Brown's but finds twelve-year-old scotch a poor substitute for catching trapeze. "I ride my bicycle and lift weights," he says. "I try to stay in shape. You can work a machine, but it's not the same as throwing people through the air. It never will be.

« Previous Page
My Voice Nation Help